Life Lately…Homeschooling

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So maybe this top picture doesn’t really have to do with Homeschooling exactly. However, it’s so sweet that I couldn’t resist. In fact, in a way the above picture does have to do with Homeschooling but I will get to that in a minute.

We started our homeschooling adventure on August 18th. Although our Home Learning doesn’t really look like what you would see going on in a traditional school building day in and day out, we decided to go along with the school calendar for no other reason than it just seemed a good a day as any to begin.

Making our DIY worm compost bin.

Making our DIY worm compost bin.

So truth be told as much as I was excited about Ty learning outside of a traditional school, I was also nervous. Could I do this? Would we be able to spend SO much time together and not go nuts? Is the path of learning we are taking enough to prepare him for his future? And the questions went on. 

Super focused little boy

Super focused little boy

We are now in our fourth week and all I can say was that I wish I had been brave enough and confident enough to have began this venture years ago. We are taking a more self-directed, interest led approach to learning so our days never really look the same. In fact, the learning often may not even take place at home. Some folks may even question if what we are doing really is “learning”. Because I grew up in the traditional school system and I have been “programmed” to believe that our educational system is the only right way, I occasionally have to step back from time to time and trust that what we are doing is best for our child and our family. Some of my initial hesitation stemmed from my fear of being a good “teacher” to Ty. Once we began I quickly saw my role in our learning adventure change from teacher to more of a facilitator. This quote from Albert Einstein sums up my feelings perfectly:

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”-Albert Einstein

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Constructing a planter box for our community garden

My goal is not to fill my child with facts so he can do well on some test. My hope is to raise a seeker, a problem solver, a curious, passionate child who not only loves to learn but knows how to learn. I want to give him the gift of time. Time to seek out his interests and time to figure out what he’s really good at and where his talents lie. I don’t want him to sit in a class room being fed knowledge that he is likely to forget if it has no meaning in his life.

Do I believe there will be gaps in his knowledge? Sure. But learning how to learn is much better than memorizing facts for the sake of a test. If he knows how to learn, no gap is permanent.

Gekko hunting.

Gekko hunting.

And so what does the picture at the very beginning of this post have to do with homeschooling?  One of the biggest joys for me these days is knowing that we get to spend time so much time together as a family doing the things we love. Honestly, I have been surprised at how easy the adjustment has been for us considering my big Mr. works from home as well. Did I also mention we live in a 1000 sq. ft. house?

Childhood is short and I’m so glad that my little mr. has this time in his life to learn and live in a way that feels right for him, for all of us.  A snuggle with his pup in the middle of the day is just another one of the perks!

 

New Beginnings…And a brief update

Oh it’s been so long. I’ve missed this blog very much! With our recent move to St.Petersburg, Florida, many visits from friends and family this past month and a half, getting to know our new city and preparing for homeschooling it’s been quite busy in these here parts…fun, but FULL at the same time. I’m itching to get back here more regularly. st.petehouse_01 We are really enjoying our new home. The beach life with it’s laid back attitude suits us very well. Even though the temperature reaches upwards of over 90 degrees on most days we spend a lot of time outdoors swimming, biking, walking and enjoying life by the water. Here are some photos of late: st.petehouse_02 stpetehouse_02 stpetehouse_03 IMG_3419 IMG_2425 IMG_3560 IMG_0121   IMG_3543 Days are sweet. I couldn’t ask for more.

What is Clutter? A Simple Clutter Checklist

pic by bodie and fou on stilinspiration blog

(Bodie and Fou’s Simple Home)

With only two weeks left before we move to our new home I am in the final stretch of deciding what comes to the new house and what gets donated.

There are so many sites and how-to’s regarding decluttering. All of them very useful when you need to know where to start. But what happens when you’ve been living simply for a while and you get a little stuck.

We are moving from an almost 1400 square foot house to a house that is under 1100 square feet so I have been ruthless about letting things go. But I find myself a little stuck with a few items.

When I came across a post on Joshua Becker’s Blog Becoming Minimalist I was so relieved to find my answer on how to get “unstuck”.

Joshua wrote about using a Guide to help you define what clutter is to you. For example, he wrote:

1. Too much stuff in too small a space.

2. Anything we no longer use or love

3. Anything that leads to a feeling of disorganization.

I agree with all of the above!

I also added a few of my own:

4. The item does not have a home.  

This reminds me of the saying, “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.” Realistically, in my home things may not always be in their place but it should always have a place to go back to. I feel much calmer when I know that something has a home. If I have to work too hard to find a home for something than it needs to go.

5. Anything that does not contribute to the “feel” of our home. 

When I create a home my guiding principle more than picking paint colors, furniture, etc. is how do I want the house to “feel”. Once I know this everything else is much easier for me to decide. The feel of our new home is relaxed, laid-back, light and airy with a calming beach vibe. If something does not contribute to that feeling then out it goes.

Creating this “cheat-sheet” has helped tremendously. When I find myself hemming and hawing about keeping something I can now run through this checklist and decide what to do.

I feel some serious purging about to happen.

So how do you decide what is clutter? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Before you go I’d like to thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to the indobay blog and join me on Facebook.

 

 

House Snoop: My Home…The kitchen before and after

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The countdown has begun! 

Our family has less than 4 weeks before we make the big move to the West Coast of Florida. I’m so excited to be by water! We visited our St. Petersburg home over the Mother’s day weekend. There is nothing like living by the water. The breeze, the energy, the smells, the sailboats…it’s just so calming and invigorating at the same time! One evening while sitting on a bench looking out into the Bay with my big Mr. while the little Mr. scootered about I found myself thinking how fortunate I felt to be able to live here. Blessed!

As much as I’m ready to head to the new house, as I pack up our current home I find myself looking around thinking how fortunate we were to have spent the last 5 years in this home. It’s a good house.

Recently I went through pictures of our current home and realized that after our kitchen renovation this past Summer I never formally posted the before and afters. So here goes…

What started this whole crazy renovation was this fridge that sat in the middle of our kitchen. You can see it below smack dab in the middle against the structural wall that would soon be gone. This was the view from the front door before. Bye, bye walls.

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Walls were removed, the fridge finally had a home and the washer and dryer now live peacefully hidden in a corner cabinet. I love how the space was opened up and every inch was used efficiently. Looking at the before and afters, I can’t even believe it’s the same house!

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Before our cabinets were white and dull. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE white cabinets. But these were no longer bright white and if I’m to be completely honest, they were not the best quality.

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With the new kitchen we opted to go with cabinets in a grey, driftwood style. I love them! I’m not a huge fan of a bunch of upper cabinets.However, I did go with the advice of the kitchen designer who recommended some upper cabinets. In retrospect, I should have listened to my gut that said we wouldn’t need the uppers. As a compromise, I did away with one set of uppers and instead had custom floating wooden shelves made with reclaimed wood. Oh how I will miss those shelves.

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We also chose to use reclaimed wood under the kitchen bar area. This picture below is what it looked like before. Yucky, weird angles.

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Just like the kitchen counters we went with a white quartz with reclaimed wood below. We use this area all the time. It’s where we play games, eat, do homework, work on the computer… you name it we do it right here.

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Here are a few more photos. Window area before.

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Window area after.

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Looking out from kitchen towards the front door before. See that blue tape on the ugly laminate counter top. That blue tape was where I envisioned our new sink on white pretty counter tops.

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Looking out towards the front door after.

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Oh how far you’ve come little house.

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I will miss you, especially this lovely kitchen. But most of all I will miss how you hosted our dinners with friends and family. You were the gathering space of many dinners and fun times with my little and big Mr. You heard us laugh til our sides ached. You witnessed us cry til our eyes dried up after our Jackson passed away. You watched our little one grow from little boy to an awesome twelve year old. You were a comforting sanctuary. You were our home. Now someone else gets to make their own beautiful memories in your comforting walls. Be well little house.

Nourish: Sprouted Rice & Quinoa Sliders

quinoaburgers_01 There are certain ingredients in our home that are staples. One is Quinoa and the other avocados. Avocados are for this recipe which is my go to lunch. I’m slightly obsessed with avos on toast! The quinoa is so that we can eat this favorite, easy delicious meal…

Crispy Sprouted Rice & Quinoa Sliders

INGREDIENTS

  • Organic (optional) Sprouted Rice & Quinoa Blend *This is a blend of Sprouted Brown and Red Rice, Quinoa and Wild Rice. I’ve also made this just with Quinoa…still yummy
  • Panko or any Bread Crumbs will do
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or a natural sea salt of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Mini burger buns (optional), lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado slices, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook the quinoa rice blend according to the directions. Once the grain is tender and all the water has been absorbed spread on a baking sheet to cool.
  2.  In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Squeeze the liquid from the grated zucchini and add the zucchini to the eggs. Stir in the cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix in the quinoa and bread crumbs. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Using a 1/4-cup measure, scoop 12 mounds and form each one into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Full Disclosure: I just use my hands to scoop out what feels like a good size. Mine are probably a little bigger than a slider but smaller than a burger. As you can see from the photo my burgers are not evenly sized. :)
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add 6 patties and cook until golden on the bottom, 3-5 minutes. I like mine a little bit burnt so I tend to go longer on my cooking time. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet, flip the patties and cook for 3 minutes, until crisp. Repeat with the remaining patties and oil.
  5. Serve with buns (optional-I eat them without and they are super tasty), lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados. Also great with some onions!

*adapted from this recipe on Food and Wine

That’s it! This meal does require a little prep time but I promise you it will be worth the little extra effort. Enjoy! Oh yes, and if you make the recipe please let me know what you think either in the comments below or you can e-mail me at tania@liveindobay.com.

Before you go I’d like to thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to the indobay blog and join me on Facebook.